Flying Rhode Island Reds - wing clipping question

floridamel

In the Brooder
9 Years
Feb 5, 2010
51
1
41
Tampa, FL
I am a fairly new backyard chicken owner (and loving these forums!) and have two Rhode Island Reds who are about 8-9 weeks old. They have a coop that I keep them in at night and they roam the yard freely in the daytime. They have been starting to fly higher and higher, and today I saw one of them fly up to the top of their cage (about 4 feet high). The fence around our yard is 6 feet high and I do NOT want them to fly over it (neighbors on both sides have large dogs on both sides of the fence who I am sure would love a chicken dinner). As their cage is next to the fence, I am worried about them flying to the top of the cage, then hopping onto the fence. So, I have a few questions:
1) I thought RIRs were pretty heavy birds - will they keep getting better at flying, or will they get worse as they fatten up?
2) If I clip their wings (or just one wing on each) will they still be able to fly into their coop (which they do to escape my little dog when she chases them - a habit we are working on breaking)? They would need to fly about 1 foot off the ground.
3) Once RIRs are full grown are they large enough to be safe from stray cats that roam into the yard - these are pretty much the only predators that can get into our yard (we live in Tampa, FL)?
4) If you do clip wings, how often do you usually have to do it?
 

scooter147

Songster
11 Years
Jul 30, 2008
2,042
77
221
Missouri
Quote:
I think if you clip now you may never have to clip again if your fence is 6 foot tall. It will be a few months before their adult feathers grow in and by then a 6 foot fence may be too much for them. Just watch them and if they are that adventurous clip the wings.

As far as you dog, you need to break that habit quick. I use a leash on new dogs. Walk by the chickens they look they get a quick hard yank and loud NO, MINE. I also hold a bird sit on the ground and when they come in for a smell it's a good pop on the nose and a loud NO, MINE.
 

chicknjane

Songster
10 Years
Jul 2, 2009
212
0
109
Pine Grove, PA
I would definitely clip their wings now. I have all large breeds, RSL, BO, BA, GLW and BR. They all fly over the 5' fence like its no big deal. I caught one Australorp on the top of my main coop which is about 7' high.

As scooter147 said, if you clip now, you may never have to do it again.
 

floridamel

In the Brooder
9 Years
Feb 5, 2010
51
1
41
Tampa, FL
Thanks, that information is very helpful! We are really working on getting my dog to leave them alone, so if you have any more suggestions, I would love to hear them. We have two dogs, and we have successfully gotten our greyhound to ignore them - she was interested at first, but we worked on that and now they can peck around in the grass even right next to her and she pays them no attention. But, the 3.5 pound Miniature Pinscher is the one giving us trouble. She is very well behaved otherwise, and we have never had behavior problems with her - she listens well and always comes when called, etc. But she is OBSESSED with the chickens. All she wants to do is get to them, and completely ignores me when they are in sight. We have been working on trying to get her to ignore them, so far with no luck. She freaks out so much if I take her near them on a leash, she doesn't care what I do to her - yanking the leash, yelling at her, squirt bottle, even a pop on the nose - she doesn't care. If we try to hold her still, she just squirms and goes crazy. So, for now we are not letting her in the yard while the chickens are roaming and vice versa - but obviously this is only a temporary solution.
 

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